Why is it that people are so offended to see someone protect their chastity and adopt their religious belief? It is not just non-Muslims who feel suffocated seeing a lady adhering to the hijaab but also some â€˜liberalâ€™ Muslims. To me the liberal part of such Muslims is just their liberty from clothes and not a liberal mind. The words of French revolutionary Madame Roland come to mind: â€œO liberty! O liberty! What crimes are committed in thy name!â€
What a Muslim woman wears is no oneâ€™s business; others may go around butt naked if they wish to, they are digging a perfect spot to get hold of the maximum heat of hell-fire.
A couple of years back when I went to Pakistan some of my relatives were very disturbed to see me observe purdah from non-mahram male relatives. They â€˜reasonedâ€™ that I do not have an Islamic education (I didnâ€™t at that time) so why should I act so differently from the â€˜normalâ€™ folk? Well, I guess my knowledge was limited and I was not aware that the rules of Islam are not binding on every Muslim, only those who study the religion officially.
One of the other arguments was how can I continue to be modern if I have to be Islamic. They just donâ€™t blend. They scoffed at a relative who said he would bring up his daughter as a modern, Islamic girl. All I was upset about was that I got an incompetent thesaurus that does not give western as one of the synonyms for modern! For beginners, Islam is a very modern religion and a religion of all times. Islam is the religion that honors and guards everyone and everyoneâ€™s rights. No man-made law is capable of all this, modern and Islam goes hand-in-hand.
People seem to have formed a preconceived notion that women who stick to hijaab have all entered a time machine that they stumbled upon in their stone-age era. Thus, these â€˜progressiveâ€™ people are exposed to such a criminal sight. What a misery for the beholder!
The West has labeled a woman who sheds off her clothes as a progressive woman (progressing in taking off her clothes?). We are fed with the idea that a successful, assertive and strong woman is one who wears mini-skirt suits and her independence is seen in her diminishing attire.
Women are simply used as a marketable commodity. She has no self-recognition. Her attire is her recognition. So who is the one who is subjugated and oppressed? The woman who follows her religious beliefs with all her heart and protects herself from lustful eyes or the woman who is forced to give in to the latest fashion trend. This is possibly the prime reason why a Muhaajib is feared and derided. She clearly sends a message of her faith and of her not getting involved in the sexual plaything position assigned to her in the Western society.
Why else would her covering herself be a thorn in anyoneâ€™s side? Is she taking away their â€˜freedomâ€™ by covering herself? Hijaab is a religious statement but weird and biased minds have turned it into a political statement-a statement of rebellion against those who disapprove of it.
A counter cashier is dismissed from her job because she wears hijaab, in the West. She is condemned and there is shock and â€˜reasoningâ€™ made that this is against the staff uniform. An Islamic bank in an Islamic country decides to implement the hijaab as part of the staff uniform. That is condemned and considered an act of injustice and oppression.
The so-called secularists do not realize that their blatant hatred against hijaab has become the fuel of the hijaab drive. After the atrocities directed at Muslims in the US. we witnessed the number of Muslim converts had drastically increased, much more than ever before.
To the doubtful Muslims, stop searching for some sheikhs and qadhis who kowtow to your wrong beliefs. Accept what Allah SWT has clearly said,
O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, to draw their outer garments around them (when they go out or are among men). That is better in order that they may be known (to be Muslims) and not molested. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. [Qurâ€™an, Surah Al Ahzab :59]
Say to the believing man that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that will make for greater purity for them; and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils (khimar) over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband’s fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O ye Believers! Turn ye all together towards Allah, that ye may attain Bliss. [Qurâ€™an, Surah Noor : 31]
Note: Hijaab is compulsory on both men and women in Islam. Obviously, there is a difference in each genderâ€™s rulings.
Covering of the head is favored in the New Testament.
Throughout the Western history as well, noble women used the veil while prostitutes did not.
63 thoughts on “Hijaab: The Veil is My Pride”
In support of my answer to the first question, I wil give the example of Kashmir. Even before the arrival of Islam, Kashmiris (of valley) had only one caste, Pandits or Brahmins.
The level of multi-ethnicity (read Munda/ Aboriginal admixture) was low therefore Kashmir was not a furtile ground for the developement that kind of caste structure.
Secondly, during the period when Budhhism wiped out Hinduism from Afghanistan to Bangladesh, it was (in Vedic form) still vibrant in Kashmir thus it did not have to undergo the revival which corrupted the definition of class.
This enhances my analysis that the multi-racial environment of the sub-continent enabled the fanatic Brahmins (and traders) to distort the vedic form of Hinduism into something in which their places were guaranteed to be above that of Sudras and Dalits. And by using the religion, they manipulated the ruling classes (Kshatriyas) to enforce this system on the lower classes.
I will try to give my thoughts on both the queries in this reply. Very good questions.
Why no caste system developed in Muslim countries:
I would rephrase this question to why caste system developed only in the sub-continent. Take China, Japan, Europe, Africa, everywhere someone has to do the so called dirty work but caste systems did not develop there. Ofcourse there are exceptions which I will bring out later near the end of my answer.
First a brief background
The original or the Vedic Hinduism went out of favour into decline around 300BC when Emperor Ashoka (whose empire stretched from Afghanistan to Bangladesh and had friendly relations with Seleucids and Ptolemy III) converted to Budhhism and gave up all violence after he was deeply affected when he saw the destruction his army caused to another opponent. Budhhism became the principle religion of the region. Ashoka’s emblem is actually the emblem on all of Indian government seals, currency and Indian flag. The Vedic Hinduism was thus wiped out.
Around 400AD a revival of ‘Hinduism’ took place during the period of Gupta Empire (feudatory of Kushanas of Kandahar) which backed fundamentalist Brahminism and Vaishyas (traders) who wanted to protect their positions and trades and rule out competition to it from all others.
Now to the point
The Vedic Hinduism had a class system which was totally dependant on the type of work people performed and a person changing his work also changed from one class to another. The Brahminical interpretations which started corrupting the Vedic Hinduism around 200BC defined a caste system based on ethnicity.
As the subcontinent was a multiracial place unlike the places which we discussed initially, this became a fertile ground for such an apartheid practice. The comparable practices can be the apartheid in South Africa, treatment of Aboriginals in Australia, Arab slave trade and slavery Europe…ofcourse with some differences in the operational aspects. The key difference being, in the sub-continent it became embedded in Hindu religion as defined by the fanatic Brahmins whereas elsewhere it was purely on ethnic level but the basic dividing aspect in all places was the same, race.
If Dalits and OBCs are not Hindus why does the BJP even think of creating a Hindu Rashtra in India?:
First and foremost, BJP is a delusional party which has no political future and is in decline.
Now the situation
First please consider my exact statement “Dalits never really saw themselves as Hindus and even OBCs regard themselves as a distinct group”
So Dalits definitely consider them out of Hindu society and in general have no affinity for it. No doubt about it. BJP knows it very well.
OBCs is a little complex case, they know they are considered lower caste Hindus in a strictly religious sense but in general they have moved with the Hindu crowd (in terms of political alignment) simply because they don’t really have a party of their own and because by themselves they are a minority. Socially however they move around in their group.
BJP knows they cannot get Dalit votes ever and they don’t expect it too. So that is out of the question. Now remains the 37% Hindu vote and a potential 20% OBC vote which they think they have a chance with. That is their dream voting pattern.
Now my analysis why BJP cannot win
1. Historically BJP has never won on a religious plank, the one time BJP won was due to people’s disenchantment with Congress and perception of Atal Bihari Vajpayee as a honest man fit to be PM.
2. Majority of 37% Hindus are actually secular so they don’t vote en-masse for BJP.
3. The religious politics of 90s is passe, people have moved on, society has changed and therefore BJPs Raison d’Ãªtre has vanished and their vote bank has shrinked.
4. South Indian states, never ever voted for BJP. Only exception being for the first time few month ago BJP won elections in Karnataka but completely due to infightings and disolution of successive goverments of another party.
5. Gujarat is the only place probably where BJP won again but credit to their economic reforms there. On religion alone they will not stand a chance.
6. Last and very important, OBC vote has seen a consolidation in Uttar Pradesh under Mayavati thus first time a Dalit + OBC combine defeated Congress. If this trend spreads then upper caste Hindus will be a minority vote.
Now my analysis why BJP still has hopes
As mentioned before, BJPs (as well as Congress’ main target is OBCs and other religious groups such as Muslims), refer to Congress government increased reservations in educational institutions for Dalits + OBCs (total 51%) and 5% additional reservation in jobs for Muslims in Andhra Pradesh.
This politics of division based on castes, religion and reservations is very tempting for people (who benefit) in the short term and they tend to vote for whoever gives them most but at the same time it can backfire from Hindus who find that now everyone except them have reservations (official reason – reversal of historical injustice).
This can help BJP in holding its Hindu flock together. But it can also backfire on them because they did not really reject the reservations proposed by Congress to be able to get OBC vote.
By now you must have realised how complex this politics is. BJP does not really have the numbers for the future and with society tending more and more towards secularism and equality, the religious agenda has no takers even among Hindus. In the future and infact as you saw in the last general election few month ago, the economic agenda decided the result in favour of Congress.
Behind all the hype about BJP being a Hindu party (it is a political slogan), practically they are same as any other party and actually some Muslims groups vote for it simply based on local district level or village level issues. Once the sloganeering of election campaigns settles down, there is really no difference when it comes to daily lives of people. One Muslim who is from Konkan on west coast told me that he votes for Shiv Sena because they got a job for his son in Air India as he is a local as opposed to people who come from outside the state.
Complex isn’t it?
You are right, Hend. One should still raise awareness about their plight. Currently, a lot of fiery debate is going on about another topic so maybe later, insha’Allah, I will post it.
Yes, isn’t it interesting and thought-provoking that the Messenger of Allah s.a.w.w. was prophesied in those Books? Hopefully people will become aware of this…
Anyway, your study of the situation of dalits is very interesting.